“My first placement had gone really well. I was working for a voluntary organisation in a hostel where I was helping to mediate between those in the hostel with mental health problems and their families.
“It was challenging but my supervisor was very helpful and I achieved a 66% achievement on that placement.
“However, the second placement was in a primary school in a deprived area. I was asked to help with the lunch clubs and after school clubs and drum up attendance for the parenting courses. Even though I was happy to do all of that I was struggling to see how I was going to achieve my competency units.
“When I raised this with my on-site supervisor I could tell she didn’t like it and she said that I wouldn’t be getting involved in anything more complex.
“Eventually she let me do some work with a group of older children who all had very challenging behaviours and she said I should devise more physical play activities for them. However, one of these children had already hurt themselves during physical play so I was worried about how I was going to balance the health and safety side of things. I asked if I could shadow her before taking the lead but she refused.
“In another incident I was asked by my off-site supervisor to do some direct observations with a little girl and investigate why she had said she did not like her teaching assistant. The child said the assistant sometimes pulled her hair and was hard on her. When I made my report to my supervisor she started yelling at me that it was a safeguarding concern and I should have told her straight away. I didn’t know that. I had not done safeguarding training.”
“Despite these incidences her mid-year report said I was satisfactory but when I started raising concerns that I did not know how I was going to achieve my competencies she suddenly told my tutor that she had concerns about my practice.
“We held a concerns meeting and after that I was told my placement was suspended. Not only that but my chance to work with the local authority social work team for one day a week was also suspended before it had even started.
“It went to the Practice Assessments Panel and they eventually terminated my social work course. I could not understand why. There seemed to be no reason for it other than the fact this on-site supervisor had concerns. Yet there is nothing in my log books or supervision notes where she even mentions what these concerns are.
“I felt powerless. I didn’t feel that anyone had produced an evidence-based case and they were all just taking her side. Nobody seemed to be listening to me. I felt a lot of her problems with me were personal. She would often say things like my accent was too strong.
“I’m appealing the decision and hope to hear about it soon but it has taken a huge emotional toll on both myself and my family. I know I’m not the only student in this situation.”